Hammy Hammersson. The HAM. Helsinki Art Museum.

Helsinki Art Museum logo

About a month ago, my friend called and asked, if I’d be interested in an artsy evening at the Helsinki Art Museum. Who am I to say no to an invitation like that? Especially when it was going to be free, gratis, nada cost for me!

tove jansson helsinki art museumThe first thing we saw, was the now in permanent collection of some Tove Jansson’s artwork. I’d never seen her non-Moomin work, so it was kind of interesting.

tove jansson helsinki art museum mural

The mural “Juhlat maalla” was my favourite. There’s a tiny Moomin in there somewhere but I think I accidentally cropped it out. Her painting style reminds me of someone but I can’t recall who. Any guesses who?

Since Moomin’s are her most famous work, there of course are some exhibited over there. Her sketches for murals for a children’s hospital are just charming.

helsinki art museum tove jansson moomin murals

From there we continued to the section of famous Finnish art. I wasn’t too keen on it, but my friend was very excited about it. He’s a budding art collector so I that’s probably the reason for the excitement. Though I did find few pieces I’d love to have. Just don’t ask, who painted them. Can’t/won’t remember.

helsinki art museum Finnish art

helsinki art museum, Finnish art

montmartre, Helsinki art museum

I like the last one solely because it has the Eiffel in it. I’m such an sophisticated art connoisseur, don’t you think?

Ai Wei Wei, HAM, Helsinki Art Museum

Anyways…HAM has some works of Ai Wei Wei exhibited right now. Till end of this month to be exact. I’ve read about him of course, but I’ve never paid attention to his works. I like his ethics and what kind of message he is trying to get through. But his works are very enjoyable from the crafter’s point of view as well.

Ai Wei Wei, HAM, Helsink Art Museum

Ai Wei Wei, HAM, Helsinki Art Museum

The painted antique house frame. The business side of me instantly saw this as a an event “hall” suitable for weddings and other summer parties. Also, it reminded me of the stables of Rohan, in LOTR. See, this is why art is important. It takes you to places.

AI Wei Wei, HAM, Helsinki Art Museum

All of my pictures are potato quality but this one was the worst offender. I don’t remember, what this piece was about, but the scale was just amazing. Also. Wouldn’t you love to have a big house, with a huge attic and thick ceiling beams as your work space?

Like I said. Sophisticated art connoisseur.

Now, to the thing I got most excited about…There was an exhibition of a young Finnish artist, Karoliina Hellberg.  I don’t know, what else I can say but I loved, loved, loved her work. It was everything I want and need from art. Colour! Energy! It’s like she saw things SHE liked and painted it all. There’s movement. There’s a wish for grandeur. Her work is just perfect. I mean look at it!

Karoliina Hellberg, HAM, Helsinki Art Museum


Karoliina Hellberg, HAM, Helsinki Art Museum

This was my favourite piece and it’s huge. All her work was for sale and almost all of it was sold. The prices are still “cheap”. Only few thousand euros for a painting like this. Though I’d have to flip quite a few dresses to buy one. But it’s cheap for people with regular, above the national median, income. A girl can dream, right?

HAM is free on every last Friday of the month, between 16-19 o’clock. It’s located in the same building with the Tennispalatsi movie theater. And this wasn’t a paid advertisement. I just really like art. And Karoliina Hellberg.

-Thrifty Finn-

Second Hand Store PS22

second hand helsinki PS22

Last week I went to Helsinki to see my friend and he told me about one second hand store I’ve never been in to. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to look through everything in there but I spotted tons of good stuff. And got chatty with the owner. Of course😀

She sells pretty much everything you can think of. There’s clothing, jewellery, books, fabrics, knick-knacks, and whatnot. I ended up buying a Quality Street tin for my collection. I still haven’t found any of the rectangular ones but I think I have nearly all pre-1980 round ones. Or at least I’d like to think so.

helsinki second hand ps22

flamenco dress, second hand PS22

The place was packed, literally up to the rafters. There was also one rather fetching latex “garment” I suggested my friend should buy. He wasn’t amused. But I was plenty😀

photographic almanac 1955, second hand helsinki

She has books on sale right now. I eyed this one but decided to leave it as I don’t really have a use for it. Would look pretty in a bookshelf though. If you’d like to visit this second hand store, you can find it in the corner of Ruusulankatu and Sibeliuksenkatu in Helsinki. HERE‘s the Google streetview for the more directionally challenged😀 The store accepts cash only.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. I visited Jäähallin Kirpputori last weekend again after couple of years break. The prices seemed to have come down slightly, so it’s good for bargain hunting!




A Year Ago in Oulu…

Oulu, Finland

Pretty much a year ago, I decided to travel up north for Christmas by bus. Easy peasy. Just 8 hours of sitting. Hey. No judging. It was cheap and there was a free wi-fi in the bus.

Anyhoo. Since the bus didn’t go all the way to Lapland back then (now it does, check it out at onnibus.com), I called my cousin, who lives in Oulu, that would she be willing to host me for a night and then possibly share a ride to our Christmas destination. Of course she said yes, and I ended up having lots of fun with her.

Beware, all my images are blurry.

Oulu, Finland

The old wooden harbour magazines look lovely in the winter. I kept ooh’ing and aah’ing and acting like a total tourist. It looked so Christmassy! I mean look:

Oulu9 Oulu8 Oulu, Finland

In this building was this incredibly cute home decor shop (which name I forgot) and they had the cutest and chicest stuff:

Oulu, Finland

Oulu, Finland

I’m pretty sure I touched every single item in there. Me and my cousin both wanted the stylish, gold-dipped tailor scissors, and I now bitterly regret not buying them as they weren’t that expensive.

a tea shop, Oulu, Finland

We also visited this tea shop. The combination of these metal canisters against the dark stained wood shelves were very satisfying to look at.

fox pelts, fur trade, Oulu, Finland

I’m not going to comment on this. I’ll just leave the image here. Fur trade is big in Finland.

kauppahalli, Oulu, Finland, Oulun kauppahalli

There’s actually an indoor market hall in Oulu. We didn’t buy anything but did some culinary window shopping.

Oulun kauppahalli, Oulu, Finland

Oulu has tons of old buildings. Although for a quite a few years there were a series of mysterious fires after an old building got a protected status. Corruption a la mob Finland. But like I said, I kept ooh’ing and aah’ing and taking tons of pictures. Sometimes I wonder if Rovaniemi, would have looked as pretty, if the Germans hadn’t burned it in 1945.

Oulu16 Oulu15 Oulu14 Oulu, Finland, architecture

Yup. Oulu is a nice city to visit. Here’s another picture from this year by my cousin. It gets very blue after the sun sets up there…

Oulu, Finland, sininen hetki, blue moment, Arctic

-Thrifty Finn-

Reminiscing Prague


praha, prague, czech republic

Wall art at a local restaurant

Few weeks ago I visited the wonderful city of Prague for the first time. Let me tell you…It was love at first sight. I spent an entire week over there and it is not enough. I didn’t have time to do half the things I had planned to do. It’s sufficient to say, I got distracted by the bohemian atmosphere over there and just lived in the moment. I’m going to repeat myself over here, but it was simply wonderful.

Madonna, Rebelheart tour, praha, prague, czech republic

Waiting for Madonna

The reason I booked flight there, was because my eternal idol Madonna was going to perform there exactly on my birthday. So I had to, you know, treat myself. It was amazing. There were tons of people, who had travelled there to just to see Madonna. A couple on my left had come from Hungary and the guy on my right had actually flown in all the way from Sao Paolo in Brazil! That’s commitment right there my friends. I got chatting with him and I found out he owns a copy of the Sex-book and actually saw The Girlie Tour way back in the day. Madonna jealousy!

praha, prague, czech republic


One of my favourite things over there is the public transport. SO CHEAP! So FUCKIN’ CHEAP! A 30 minute ticket 24 korunas, which is under 1 euro. 90 minute ticket is 34 korunas, which is like 1,30€. And if you live there, a monthly travel card is 550 korunas, which is just a little over 20 euros. The 100 euros we have to pay over here for a shitty service just makes me cry. CRY!

praha, prague, czech republic, karlüv most, charles bridge

Few other tourists at Charles Bridge.

It wasn’t all about Madonna, bohemian things and wine, I did do some tourist things too. The Charles Bridge is filled with other tourists, but it’s a must see. The views are beautiful, the atmosphere is great and it’s a fun place to do some people watching. I went there three times. Twice for a date though😉

praha, prague, czech republic

The castle hill.

When you get past the bridge and the millions of tourists disperse around the castle hill area, you do get some peace and quiet. But the castle hill is bitch to walk. By the time you get to the castle, you are panting. Or at least I was. Or maybe I’m just really, really unfit. No, it must be because the hill was a bitch to walk. Also…a friendly tip…The Starbucks over there has a loo but there are about a gazillion stairs you have to walk back down to get to it. So pretty much choose any other café around the area for your more pressing needs.

praha, prague, czech republic

The Slavic santa

I love souvenir shops. I could browse through them for hours. Even in Paris, where I’ve been several times, I never get tired of looking at the knick-knacks. These Santa’s weren’t priced like knick-knacks though. Prague is cheap but these aren’t. But they sure are beautiful.

praha, prague, czech republic

A snapshot from a flea market.

Prague is really good for thrifting and second hand shopping. The prices are really, really good and there are tons of flea markets and second hand stores, pretty much everywhere in the city.   This particular one had an entrance fee of 1 euro. You put the coin in a machine and walk through one of those helicopter type of gates. How exotic! By the time I got there, some of the sellers had already packed and left, but I found quite a few bargains there.

praha, prague, czech republic, Palladium

Palladium shopping centre

Not all my shopping was cheap. I accidentally found this beautiful pink building, which was a gigantic shopping mall. I wish I had known Sephora had stores in Prague, because I totally would have budgeted for Christmas shopping in there. I always buy those Sephora bubble bath  things for my friend, when I’m in Paris, and it would have been so great to continue that tradition. I was especially keen to give him the glittery Christmas one😀 Anyhoo…The big difference with this mall and the malls in Finland is that there are tons of different sized retail spaces. Meaning, there were both international chains and independent retailers. In Finland Citycon owns most of the malls, and they don’t really offer opportunities to other than huge chains. There’s a chance, when I next time go over there, I shall shop till I drop as they had bunch of chains, I’d last seen in Paris and I’m a huge fan of.

praha, prague, czech republic, karlüv most, charles bridge

Charles Bridge and river Vltava.

My hard drive is filled with images of Prague. The river Vltava is so beautiful. It’s just a one photo-op after another. I did one of those boat tours and this is one of the pics I took, while on it. Like Her Madgesty said, Prague is magical, but that magic multiplies around sunset. There’s so much excitement and romance in the air around that time, that you can’t help but feel excited yourself. I recommend taking that boat tour. It’s worth it.

praha, prague, czech republic, airport

Prague Airport

All good things must come to an end. I was gutted I had to go but I’ll be going back soon. I met so many wonderful people, who made me believe, that anything is still possible. It was one of the reasons, why it has taken so long for me to share this trip with you. I wanted to have those memories for me only.

I’ll be posting about Prague flea markets and other handy tips for you at later time. Prague is a very budget friendly city. You can go there with a very limited budget and still have a time of your life. I booked my flights with Norwegian and stayed at a Couchsurfing-place.

Till later…

-Thrifty Finn-



Spooky Halloween Village Template

spooky halloween village silhouette

Few years ago, I made this simple, paper cut Halloween village to decorate my bookshelf. I made it using a craft knife and simple hobby cardstock. The beauty of this is, that you don’t have to be precise with the cutting, the more mistakes there are, the spookier it gets.

hallowee, silhouette, paper craft, DIY, Thrifty Finn

spooky halloween village silhouette

This is a very inexpensive craft but at the same time, it is incredibly effective in creating an amazing Halloween atmosphere. To help you to make one just like this, I made a template to guide you. You need an Adobe Acrobat or any PDF reading software, that allows you to print with a poster setting as the village is sized 20*70 centimeters and it spans on three A4s.


This one is for personal use only. My other Halloween printables are HERE and HERE. Hope you like them!

-Thrifty Finn-